WILMINGTON — Christian Jones’ two free throws and steal in the final seconds lifted the Wilmington College men’s basketball team to a 68-66 win over Trine College Thursday at Fred Raizk Arena.
Closing out the 2016 portion of their schedule with their second straight win, the Quakers improve to 5-6 on the year. Trine falls to 4-6 on the season.
“It was a gutsy team win for our guys and a superb effort in the closing minutes,” said Quaker head coach K.C. Hunt outside the locker room. “I felt maybe we got a little passive after we built the 10-point lead (64-54 with 6:30 remaining), but the guys really stepped it up down the stretch with the game was on the line. We’re on a roll right now with back to back wins, and we need to keep our momentum going.”
Although Trine chipped away at the deficit and eventually tied the score, Wilmington held the Thunder without a field goal over the final three minutes of regulation play.
Kyle Dodson, a Centerville High School graduate, led all scorers with 23 points, which included six three-pointers. His final trey of the game pulled the Thunder within a single point at 64-63 with 3:23 showing.
Non-starter Nathan Scott, who led the Quaker with 16 points, snapped a 64-all tie on a jumper at the 1:26 mark. After Trine’s Myles Copeland hit the front end of a two-shot foul, which tied the score at 66-66 with 18 seconds left, Copeland missed the second attempt and Wilmington grabbed the rebound, setting up for the final shot.
Jones was fouled cutting across the lane with 0.8 showing on the clock. He calmly drained both shots of the one and bonus opportunity to put the Quakers in front, 68-66. Jones then secured the victory when he stole the Thunder inbound pass.
Noah Chatman had 12 for WC, including eight in the first half of play. In all, Wilmington had a balanced scoring attack featuring 10 different players in the scoring column.
Wilmington’s depth was a key factor in the outcome, as the Quakers collected 26 points off the bench, while the Thunder countered with 14 points from their non-starters.
It was a see-saw type of game featuring 11 lead changes and the score was tied five times. Trine was nursing a one-point lead in the closing seconds of the first half before Scott grabbed a teammate’s missed shot and beat the halftime buzzer giving WC a 38-37 lead at the intermission.
The overall ledger shows his team is just one victory away from an even record but coach Hunt says the team is really focused right now on improving with every game. If they continue to improve, he feels the wins will follow.
“Our main focus is to get better every day,” Hunt said. “That’s the mantra of this team right now. We really don’t dwell on the record. It’s more about improving and for us to keep getting better.”
Wilmington will resume with Ohio Athletic Conference action after the new year begins, hosting the Capital Crusaders on 7 p.m. Jan. 4 at Raizk Arena.
December 29, 2016
@Fred Raizk Arena
Wilmington College 68 Trine College 66
(66) TRINE COLLEGE (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) Ciszewski 0-0-0-0, Cummings 2-0-0-4, Daub 2-1-0-7, Dixon 3-1-9-18, Dodson 2-6-1-23, Kreglow 0-0-0-0, Herrington 0-0-0-0-, Johnson 0-0-0-0, Clune 0-0-0-0, Dishop 1-0-0-2, Copeland 5-0-2-12. Team Totals 15-8-12-66.
(68) WILMINGTON COLLEGE (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) Russell 1-2-0-8, Chatman 5-0-2-12, C. Jones 1-2-6-14, Lewis 2-0-1-5, Iles 0-1-0-3, Patrick 1-0-0-2, J. Jones 1-0-0-2, Smith 1-0-0-2, Greene 0-0-0-0, Pittman 0-0-0-0, Moore 2-0-0-4, Dunson 0-0-0-0, Scott 5-2-0-16. Team Totals 19-7-9-68.
Bill Liermann covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet